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The Dumber Android Is, the Better, Say Experts 165

ZDOne writes "ZDNet UK is reporting that it will not be known until the Android software development kit comes out on Monday whether the Gphone will be strictly Java-based, but security experts claim that the less smart a phone is, the less vulnerable it is. Android developers should stick to a semi-smartphone platform because the Java sandbox can protect against the normal kinds of attacks, experts claim. The article also discusses some of the pros and cons of open vs. closed source security. 'The debate about the relative security merits of open-source as opposed to proprietary software development has been a very long-running one. Open-source software development has the advantage of many pairs of eyes scrutinizing the code, meaning irregularities can be spotted and ironed out, while updates to plug vulnerabilities can be written and pushed out very quickly. However, one of the disadvantages of open-source development is that anyone can scrutinize the source code to find vulnerabilities and write exploits. The source code in proprietary software, on the other hand, can't be directly viewed, meaning vulnerabilities need to be found through reverse engineering.'"
Security

Virtualization Decreases Security 340

ParaFan writes "In a fascinating story on KernelTrap, Theo de Raadt asserts that while virtualization can increase hardware utilization, it does not in any way improve security. In fact, he contends the exact opposite is true: 'You are absolutely deluded, if not stupid, if you think that a worldwide collection of software engineers who can't write operating systems or applications without security holes, can then turn around and suddenly write virtualization layers without security holes.' de Raadt argues that the lack of support for process isolation on x86 hardware combined with numerous bugs in the architecture are a formula for virtualization decreasing overall security, not increasing it."
NASA

NASA Offering $2 Million Prize for Lunar Lander 159

coondoggie writes "If you build it, NASA will not only come, it'll give you $2 million dollars for your troubles. The space agency today said it will offer $2 million in prizes if competing teams can successfully build a lunar lander at the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge at Holloman Air Force Base, in Alamogordo, N.M. Oct. 27 and 28th. To win the prize, teams must demonstrate a rocket-propelled vehicle and payload that takes off vertically, climbs to a defined altitude, flies for a pre-determined amount of time, and then lands vertically on a target that is a fixed distance from the launch pad. After landing, the vehicle must take off again within a predetermined time, fly for a certain amount of time and then land back on its original launch pad."

GIMP 2.4 Released 596

Enselic writes "After almost three years since the release of GIMP 2.2, the GIMP developers have just announced the release of GIMP 2.4. The release notes speak of scalable bitmap brushes, redesigned rectangle/ellipse selection tools, redesigned crop tool, a new foreground selection tool, a new align tool, reorganized menu layouts, improved zoomed in/zoomed out image display quality, improved printing and color management support and a new perspective clone tool."
Microsoft

Microsoft to Pay $240 Million for Stake in Facebook 277

Nrbelex writes to mention The New York Times is reporting that Microsoft has beat out Google and Yahoo for a 1.6% stake in Facebook. The investment will cost Microsoft $240 million valuing the total site at somewhere around $15 billion. "The astronomical valuation for Facebook is primarily evidence that Microsoft executives believed they could not afford to lose out on the Facebook deal. Google appears to be building a dominant position in the race to serve advertisements online. Fearing it might lose control over the next generation of computer users, Microsoft has been attempting to match and in some cases block Google's plans, even if that effort is costly."
Technology

New Hydrogen Engine Test Shows Future of Aviation 184

An anonymous reader writes to mention Boeing has successfully completed tests for the engine that will power HALE, the new prop plane that will be able to stay aloft for long periods of time. "The wünderengine, developed by the Ford Motor Company, went for three days under the simulated conditions of a 65,000-feet flight, which is definitely better than a Taurus and apparently exceeded their expectations on fuel economy. Chris Haddox at Boeing's Advanced Systems said that while it will be several years before HALE flies, the key to this aircraft is the propulsion system and this recent test was very promising."

Greenpeace Admits Targeting Apple Grabs Headlines 394

An anonymous reader writes "Gizmodo published this morning allegations by the bromine industry claiming that Greenpeace's report on the iPhone was inaccurate and alarmist. They got an official rebuttal to the bromine industry by Greenpeace, but the most interesting part is their acknowledgment that their targeting of Apple, even while they have similar reports on every manufacturer, is a deliberate attempt to grab headlines. While it's logical and not surprising, I find it quite shocking to see them be so cavalier, and even hypocritical, about it."
The Internet

World Series Ticket Sales Overwhelm Servers 86

vlakkies writes "The Colorado Rockies Major League Baseball team decided to only sell tickets for the World Series games at Coors Field online. As a result of overwhelming interest, the ticket vendor Paciolan experienced a system meltdown resulting in a suspension of all ticket sales."

Mythbusters to Test Cockroach Radiation Myth 573

redwoodtree writes "An article on the site for the Tri-City Herald sums it up perfectly: 'Contrary to popular belief, not a significant amount of research goes into cockroach radiation.' To test the old saw about 'the cockroaches being the only survivors of a nuclear war' Discovery Channel's Mythbusters are going out to Hanford Site, where plutonium was manufactured for the first nuclear bomb. It's the single most polluted nuclear waste site in the U.S. The Mythbusters are going to take cockroaches and other insects and apply successively higher doses of radiation in a controlled setting."
Communications

Little Old Lady Hammers Comcast 416

WheezyJoe writes "The Washington Post reports that a little old lady took a hammer to Comcast. Apparently fed up with the lousy service she received from a botched Comcast installation of "triple-play", and a completely humiliating experience at a customer service center, 75-year-old Mona "The Hammer" Shaw took her claw hammer back to the customer service center and bludgeoned the office equipment into tiny plastic pieces."
Google

Google to Offer Online Personal Health Records 242

hhavensteincw writes "Less than two weeks after Microsoft announced plans to offer personal health records, Google announced today that it plans to offer online personal health records to help patients tote and store their own x-rays and other health data. Google made the announcement Wednesday at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco."
Space

Monster Black Hole Busts Theory 248

Genocaust writes "A stellar black hole much more massive than theory predicts is possible has astronomers puzzled. Stellar black holes form when stars with masses around 20 times that of the sun collapse under the weight of their own gravity at the ends of their lives. Most stellar black holes weigh in at around 10 solar masses when the smoke blows away, and computer models of star evolution have difficulty producing black holes more massive than this. The newly weighed black hole is 16 solar masses. It orbits a companion star in the spiral galaxy Messier 33, located 2.7 million light-years from Earth. Together they make up the system known as M33 X-7."
Space

"All Quiet Alert" Issued For the Sun 463

radioweather writes "The phrase sounds like an oxymoron, and maybe it is, but the sun is extremely quiet right now, so much in fact that the Solar Influences Data Center in Belgium issued an unusual 'All quiet alert' on October 5th. Since then the sunspot number has remained at zero — solar cycle 24 has not yet started. There are signs that the sun's activity is slowing. The solar wind has been decreasing in speed, and this is yet another indicator of a slowing in the sun's magnetic dynamo. There is talk of an extended solar minimum occurring. There are a number of theories and a couple of dozen predictions about the intensity solar cycle 24 which has yet to start. One paper by Penn & Livingstonin in 2006 concludes: 'If [trends] continue to decrease at the current rate then the number of sunspots in the next solar cycle (cycle 24) would be reduced by roughly half, and there would be very few sunspots visible on the disk during cycle 25.' We'll know more in about six months what the sun decides to do for cycle 24."

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